Which band has the best discography?

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Do we have a thread like this?

If you take in every single thing a band has recorded from start to finish – albums, B-sides, loosies – which bands have the absolute most flawless record of records.

The Mandymoorian (Whiney G. Weingarten), Tuesday, 28 January 2020 20:58 (one month ago) link

Primus lock thread

I wanna publish memes and rage against machimes (rip van wanko), Tuesday, 28 January 2020 20:59 (one month ago) link

FVGAZI

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Tuesday, 28 January 2020 21:00 (one month ago) link

maybe husker du for me

nxd, Tuesday, 28 January 2020 21:01 (one month ago) link

seems like this by necessity will be the best band with the smallest discography ie Zeppelin or Steely Dan lol

Οὖτις, Tuesday, 28 January 2020 21:01 (one month ago) link

I was gonna say Minor Threat, but yeah Fugazi too.

Johnny Fever, Tuesday, 28 January 2020 21:01 (one month ago) link

Life Without Buildings

Johnny Fever, Tuesday, 28 January 2020 21:02 (one month ago) link

1st thought was Zeppelin

A True White Kid that can Jump (Granny Dainger), Tuesday, 28 January 2020 21:02 (one month ago) link

Big Star never made a bad record

Οὖτις, Tuesday, 28 January 2020 21:02 (one month ago) link

for lengthy career, Miles Davis prob

A True White Kid that can Jump (Granny Dainger), Tuesday, 28 January 2020 21:03 (one month ago) link

on the rap front I'd say Outkast but then I've never listened to Idlewild in its entirety lol

Missy's discography is incredibly consistent

Οὖτις, Tuesday, 28 January 2020 21:03 (one month ago) link

Roxy Music

Οὖτις, Tuesday, 28 January 2020 21:03 (one month ago) link

The Beatles were pretty great.

jmm, Tuesday, 28 January 2020 21:03 (one month ago) link

seems like this by necessity will be the best band with the smallest discography

VU's official releases -- minus maybe Another View, and definitely minus Squeeze -- hit this mark

dad genes (morrisp), Tuesday, 28 January 2020 21:04 (one month ago) link

Yeah, Velvets would def be the best answer but Doug Yule era fucks it up

The Mandymoorian (Whiney G. Weingarten), Tuesday, 28 January 2020 21:08 (one month ago) link

Also, yeah, I would be hard pressed to name a bad Beatles song tbh

The Mandymoorian (Whiney G. Weingarten), Tuesday, 28 January 2020 21:08 (one month ago) link

but the OP explicitly includes that crap, so this has to be a band with real strict quality control

like, say, the Stone Roses

*hides*

Οὖτις, Tuesday, 28 January 2020 21:08 (one month ago) link

Missy's discography is incredibly consistent

GangStarr too

A True White Kid that can Jump (Granny Dainger), Tuesday, 28 January 2020 21:08 (one month ago) link

I would be hard pressed to name a bad Beatles song tbh

What's the New Mary Jane is pretty bad

A Taste of Honey

there's others...

Οὖτις, Tuesday, 28 January 2020 21:09 (one month ago) link

E-40 and Scarface also incredibly consistent - although in both cases there's stuff I haven't heard cuz I can't keep up lol

Οὖτις, Tuesday, 28 January 2020 21:10 (one month ago) link

Spacemen 3

Οὖτις, Tuesday, 28 January 2020 21:10 (one month ago) link

Missy's discography is incredibly consistent

― Οὖτις, Tuesday, January 28, 2020 4:03 PM (five minutes ago) bookmarkflaglink

Love Missy but foh

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eTQkdQVcEIg

The Mandymoorian (Whiney G. Weingarten), Tuesday, 28 January 2020 21:12 (one month ago) link

is there a bad Duke Ellington record?

A True White Kid that can Jump (Granny Dainger), Tuesday, 28 January 2020 21:13 (one month ago) link

D’Angelo, Big Black

Western® with Bacon Flavor, Tuesday, 28 January 2020 21:18 (one month ago) link

did you mean to post this on RYM Whiney

frogbs, Tuesday, 28 January 2020 21:20 (one month ago) link

womp womp

The Mandymoorian (Whiney G. Weingarten), Tuesday, 28 January 2020 21:21 (one month ago) link

lol

opden gnash (imago), Tuesday, 28 January 2020 21:21 (one month ago) link

D'Angelo is a good answer

Οὖτις, Tuesday, 28 January 2020 21:21 (one month ago) link

The rap answer might be Biggie :(

The Mandymoorian (Whiney G. Weingarten), Tuesday, 28 January 2020 21:23 (one month ago) link

surely M|A|R|R|S gets posted by now every time one of these threads is done

don't care didn't ask still clappin (sic), Tuesday, 28 January 2020 21:23 (one month ago) link

aren't there a bunch of Biggie verses scattered across all kinds of shitty post-mortem crap?

Οὖτις, Tuesday, 28 January 2020 21:27 (one month ago) link

Wire - aside from maybe half of "Manscape" and "The First Letter", but both have great bits as well. The rest of their catalog is consistently stellar.

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Tuesday, 28 January 2020 21:33 (one month ago) link

had skinny puppy truly hung it up after the process

american bradass (BradNelson), Tuesday, 28 January 2020 21:33 (one month ago) link

surely M|A|R|R|S gets posted by now every time one of these threads is done

― don't care didn't ask still clappin (sic)

i was gonna say elizabeth city state, myself

Big Star never made a bad record

― Οὖτις

never sure when people say these things if they have forgotten about in space or if they actually like that record

Also, yeah, I would be hard pressed to name a bad Beatles song tbh

― The Mandymoorian (Whiney G. Weingarten)

i could name a half a dozen beatles song i hate, i won't because then the thread would just fill up with people trying to convince me that "you know my name, look up the number" isn't that bad, gtfo with that

not a band per se but duke is goddamn insuperable, greatest recording artist in the history of music imo. a bad duke ellington record, _that_ i would have trouble with. duke ellington was great in 1927 and was also great in 1970, with no real point in between where he _wasn't_ great.

revenge of the jawn (rushomancy), Tuesday, 28 January 2020 21:34 (one month ago) link

if they have forgotten about in space

oh shit, that me

:(

Οὖτις, Tuesday, 28 January 2020 21:35 (one month ago) link

Broadcast!

Οὖτις, Tuesday, 28 January 2020 21:42 (one month ago) link

The answer is so obvious. Joy Division. Two perfect albums, no really bad song in their whole oeuvre including b-sides and stuff.

walking towards the sun since 2007 (alex in mainhattan), Tuesday, 28 January 2020 21:42 (one month ago) link

lol sister ray zzzz

ymo sumac (NickB), Tuesday, 28 January 2020 21:44 (one month ago) link

Joy Division mostly sucks

Οὖτις, Tuesday, 28 January 2020 21:44 (one month ago) link

(I say mostly because they have three songs I like)

Οὖτις, Tuesday, 28 January 2020 21:44 (one month ago) link

Broadcast seconded!

umsworth (emsworth), Tuesday, 28 January 2020 21:48 (one month ago) link

Also and this is a feeling I’m just starting to feel so bear with me but maybe Jon Hassell?

umsworth (emsworth), Tuesday, 28 January 2020 21:49 (one month ago) link

portishead

mookieproof, Tuesday, 28 January 2020 21:52 (one month ago) link

Dolly Mixture

o. nate, Tuesday, 28 January 2020 21:56 (one month ago) link

Considering bands with a big output Stereolab have to be taking into account. The quality of their work is consistently high.

walking towards the sun since 2007 (alex in mainhattan), Tuesday, 28 January 2020 21:59 (one month ago) link

Gonna go out on a limb here and say Autechre. I mean there's a LOT to sift through, and that's just their last three full length releases, but every album, EP, b-side, one off, most remixes, even collaborations are all very interesting and engaging at a minimum, and intensely beautiful and otherworldly when they hit their peak, which still happens every release. While their albums have a tendency to be somewhat inconsistent at times (there's more than a few songs I tend to skip), I've found bangers and classics on every single record. Often the songs I consider skip-worthy are tracks others here fawn over (I've noticed imago and I have very differing tastes when it comes to specific Ae tracks for instance). This speaks to their appeal and consistency. Considering the amount of time they've been relevant (nearly 30 years? Fuck me) that's impressive as all hell. Now, that said - they have a pretty significant stylistic split between 1990-2000 and 2001-present but if you're into both styles, that's a lot of amazing music to take in.

octobeard, Tuesday, 28 January 2020 22:00 (one month ago) link

The Normal

kitchen person, Tuesday, 28 January 2020 22:01 (one month ago) link

Gonna go out on a limb here and say Autechre

oh yeah this is the answer

american bradass (BradNelson), Tuesday, 28 January 2020 22:02 (one month ago) link

literally everything is worth listening to and figuring out your own relationship with it

american bradass (BradNelson), Tuesday, 28 January 2020 22:02 (one month ago) link

I'd go with Goldfrapp. Even their weaker albums (Head First, Silver Eye) are still 8/10.

kitchen person, Tuesday, 28 January 2020 22:04 (one month ago) link

lol why would I judge a rap album just by the instrumentals

because they better than the album itself

Bstep, Saturday, 1 February 2020 04:53 (four weeks ago) link

*are

Bstep, Saturday, 1 February 2020 04:53 (four weeks ago) link

...

... that's Traore! (Neanderthal), Saturday, 1 February 2020 05:02 (four weeks ago) link

King Sunny Ade might fit here but I have only heard about 15 of 270 albums so can’t say for sure.

Tim F, Saturday, 1 February 2020 05:54 (four weeks ago) link

And if they try come stoppin' me
I show them my discography

https://images.genius.com/a7b3e345506d3954231a481447a62d7f.1000x762x1.jpg

dad genes (morrisp), Saturday, 1 February 2020 05:55 (four weeks ago) link

who tf is that lolol

Bstep, Saturday, 1 February 2020 06:52 (four weeks ago) link

Souled American -- six perfect albums -- but nobody cares. Prince Far I never made a bad one while he was alive. Steely Dan's original run is legendary of course but the comeback albums, while quite good, sort of mess with the aura of it, because going out on "Gaucho" was just a God-level move.

But Souled American is 100% perfect from beginning to "end." (They never officially quit, just sort of vanished.)

she carries a torch. two torches, actually (Joan Crawford Loves Chachi), Saturday, 1 February 2020 15:08 (four weeks ago) link

Danish instrumental psych-rock quartet (now a quintet; they've added a saxophonist) Mythic Sunship haven't made a bad album yet. Four studio releases, one live album, all fantastic.

shared unit of analysis (unperson), Saturday, 1 February 2020 15:10 (four weeks ago) link

Souled American was supercool. There was this resurgence in interest here when the albums were reissued in the 90s, then ... they sort of vanished again. (Same with Shrimp Boat.)

Josh in Chicago, Saturday, 1 February 2020 15:46 (four weeks ago) link

I know they're not an ILM fave but Elbow's discography has been incredibly consistent.

akm, Saturday, 1 February 2020 17:06 (four weeks ago) link

Scott Tuma has a pretty perfect discography off the back of Souled American, too.

Ngolo Cantwell (Chinaski), Saturday, 1 February 2020 23:41 (four weeks ago) link

also has anybody nominated Sun Ra yet
― Οὖτις, Friday, January 31, 2020 9:23 PM

I did, upthread.

xp
― Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Friday, January 31, 2020 9:26 PM

How many people have heard everything by him?

Robert Adam Gilmour, Sunday, 2 February 2020 05:09 (three weeks ago) link

Also I think there's a promise in the original post that's not been entirely been fulfilled by the thread itself, in that the *best discography* isn't necessarily about having a short-but-consistent or flawless run of albums. Otherwise you might as well go 'Young Marble Giants' and leave it at that.

The bands I really think of as discography bands have catalogues that reward exploration, that are full of twists and turns and little rooms hidden off to the side. EPs, B-Sides, obscure early singles or non-album hits, perhaps remixes or reworks of other artists. There are so many bad or boring Sonic Youth songs even at their peak but there's also the sense that there might be a real treat hidden away in there that you hadn't previously heard. Ditto REM, New Order, Cocteau Twins, Prince and later on Autechre or Aphex Twin or Carl Craig. The demise of physical media kind of flattened this out among newer artists but not entirely.

Matt DC, Sunday, 2 February 2020 10:07 (three weeks ago) link

yuup carl craig's discography is very very good!

the only techno artist as consistent as carl is probably... Gas

Bstep, Sunday, 2 February 2020 11:15 (three weeks ago) link

Not sure I can name anything by Carl Craig from the last twenty years that isn't a remix

Saint Etienne definitely ticks the deep cuts/buried treasure aspect for me (annoyingly the deluxe versions of their albums, excluding the remixes collection, have been off Spotify a while now)

nashwan, Sunday, 2 February 2020 11:59 (three weeks ago) link

Here to rep for Japan and the individual band members' post-Japan projects. TONS of signal, very little noise.

Dee the (Summer-Hating) Lurker (deethelurker), Sunday, 2 February 2020 12:48 (three weeks ago) link

Saint Etienne are very consciously that sort of discography band I think because they understand the thrill of that kind of fandom. Does anyone really rate the more recent run of albums up against their 90s output though?

Matt DC, Sunday, 2 February 2020 12:55 (three weeks ago) link

If I were to go for sheer quantity of great releases, I'd say REM and Swans.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Sunday, 2 February 2020 13:21 (three weeks ago) link

Consistency is a terrible metric and is for people who enjoy filling out forms and informing on their neighbours.

If there's no garbage in there what's going on

saer, Sunday, 2 February 2020 19:41 (three weeks ago) link

I love w all my heart FoxBase Alpha and So Tough but rest of SE's catalog varies from meh to ugh


I mostly agree with this except I love a lot of Good Humor and some of Sound of Water. And “shower scene” is incredible.

brimstead, Sunday, 2 February 2020 19:52 (three weeks ago) link

i think "catalogues that reward exploration" really nails it, Matt DC otm (altho i would pick very different artists as examples)

with a select few artists i even sort of dread coming to "the end"

budo jeru, Sunday, 2 February 2020 19:54 (three weeks ago) link

Royal Trux has one of the best ratios I can think of, in terms of quantity:quality... everything they released was outstanding* until around ’99 (and even then they never got “bad,” just took their foot off the gas a lil bit). Even their reunion albums are enjoyable.

*it helps to be a fan to have opinions like this, as someone noted above

dad genes (morrisp), Sunday, 2 February 2020 20:04 (three weeks ago) link

I feel like 5-6 releases is the sweet spot where you have a big enough discography to be respectable, but haven't been around long enough to run out of ideas. Works for Sade, Pavement, Erykah Badu.

aphoristical, Sunday, 2 February 2020 21:45 (three weeks ago) link

to me, a discography HAS to be consistent in order to "reward exploration." i mean who really wants to wade through ALL the smashing pumpkins albums. whereas you can't go wrong with gorguts.

If there's no garbage in there what's going on

consistency lol

Bstep, Sunday, 2 February 2020 21:49 (three weeks ago) link

just to clarify, when i say consistent i mean "unchanging in standard" (not "always the same")

Bstep, Sunday, 2 February 2020 21:57 (three weeks ago) link

Saint Etienne are very consciously that sort of discography band I think because they understand the thrill of that kind of fandom. Does anyone really rate the more recent run of albums up against their 90s output though?

― Matt DC

I rate Tales From Turnpike House as their third best album and Words & Music isn't far behind. Sound Of Water and Finisterre are pretty solid but easily their weakest eras for me. Turnpike House really took me by surprise at the time and stands up 15 years on. Words & Music felt like a continuation of them sounding inspired again and contains some of my favourite songs of theirs (Tonight, DJ, Over The Border, Popular). I wouldn't say Home Counties is quite on the same level, but I still enjoyed it.

kitchen person, Sunday, 2 February 2020 22:13 (three weeks ago) link

I don't like Led Zeppelin II and I don't like a lot of Sister Lovers, and I'm sure there are Jim O'Rourke or Pauline Oliveros records I haven't heard yet that I wouldn't like so much, so I'll cheat and say The Attractions.

Maybe Minutemen is the right answer.

Miami weisse (WmC), Sunday, 2 February 2020 23:31 (three weeks ago) link

Phenomenal catalog! Tho 3-Way Tie for Last is kind of not on par with the rest imo

The Mandymoorian (Whiney G. Weingarten), Sunday, 2 February 2020 23:41 (three weeks ago) link

meshuggah's discography is really cool and unique

Bstep, Sunday, 2 February 2020 23:59 (three weeks ago) link

i sort of feel like there's a balance between consistency and adventurousness. like to me looking at gentle giant's catalogue i value "civilian" more than i do, say, "in a glass house", because "civilian" is gentle giant doing an enjoyable record in a style they hadn't done before (and since it was their last record, wouldn't ever do again), whereas "in a glass house", well, you know, they have around eight pretty good records in that style. what can i get out of "in a glass house" that i couldn't get out of "power and the glory"?

the trade-off is that the two records before "civilian" are shit. what's better, a decent record i never listen to or a shitty record i never listen to? does it matter?

you know my name, look up the number of the beast (rushomancy), Monday, 3 February 2020 01:01 (three weeks ago) link

I want to say Rockpile, counting the records also nominally by Lowe and Edmunds, but basically all the same band

one charm and one antiup quark (outdoor_miner), Monday, 3 February 2020 15:52 (three weeks ago) link

I agree In a Glass House & The Power and the Glory are pretty similar but the rest of GG's records seem pretty distinct to me

fwiw I think The Missing Piece is alright, especially the proggier second half. Giant for a Day on the other hand...who knows what they were thinking. has a Love Beach sorta vibe to it. what gets me about these records isn't so much that they suck, it's that the production is so weak and the performances so dispirited...its like the band themselves didn't really buy it either.

frogbs, Monday, 3 February 2020 16:04 (three weeks ago) link

What's the New Mary Jane is pretty bad

A Taste of Honey

there's others...

They didn't release What's the New Mary Jane or write A Taste of Honey, so not sure what the point is here...

Darin, Tuesday, 4 February 2020 06:33 (three weeks ago) link

I know they're not an ILM fave but Elbow's discography has been incredibly consistent.

― akm, Saturday, 1 February 2020 17:06 (three days ago)

Elbow's is the only front-to-back catalog I regularly turn and return to as often as The Beatles and Underworld.

But also, Underworld. Dubno... to the present.

(The false start that is/was Underneath the Radar need not apply.)

sombrerodetuned (sombrerodetune), Tuesday, 4 February 2020 22:21 (three weeks ago) link

What's the New Mary Jane was released on Beatles Anthology 3

the OP makes no mention of authorship

xps

Οὖτις, Tuesday, 4 February 2020 22:34 (three weeks ago) link

and if we’re being extra pedantic OP says “every single thing a band has recorded” (i.e. whether the band released the recording or not shouldn’t matter, leaks and bootlegs fair game, presumably that’s what “loosies” means)

budo jeru, Tuesday, 4 February 2020 23:10 (three weeks ago) link

Loosies are songs on, like, soundtracks and comps.

Leaks and bootlegs are up to your own discretion I guess

The Mandymoorian (Whiney G. Weingarten), Tuesday, 4 February 2020 23:53 (three weeks ago) link

not even leaks, everything that was ever put on tape, even if they recorded over it later

adding in things that were deliberately not released at the time, only decades after the band split and a member or two died (as with Beatles and Go-Betweens), means that every other act in the thread also ought to be judged by the material they thought was too bad to release.

― don't care didn't ask still clappin (sic), Saturday, February 1, 2020 9:07 AM (four days ago)

yup

― Οὖτις, Saturday, February 1, 2020 9:10 AM (four days ago)

don't care didn't ask still clappin (sic), Tuesday, 4 February 2020 23:54 (three weeks ago) link

Beatles Anthology 3 is an officially released comp

this is a stupid argument

Οὖτις, Tuesday, 4 February 2020 23:57 (three weeks ago) link

which good band / artist has the worst discography?

Wuhan!! Got You All in Check (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Wednesday, 5 February 2020 00:05 (three weeks ago) link

imo if members are dead and the band split up decades earlier, then the intent was clearly not to release the abandoned demos as an authoritative contribution to the discography

this is a stupid argument

agreed, especially if we extend this to cover the entire thread

don't care didn't ask still clappin (sic), Wednesday, 5 February 2020 00:15 (three weeks ago) link

what is the argument ? i was really only noting that, if you wanted to, you could count bootlegs in a band's discography. or you don't have to. sometimes unofficial shit, particularly concert fan recordings and scrapped studio sessions, are essential to "knowing" a band's discography, at least to some fans. i'm not trying to make "rules" and my post was sort of in jest.

then again other times an artist comes around and says, "yeah those bootlegs, we own that, here they are officially." that was one of the main points of the anthology series ! see also dylan for another obvious example.

budo jeru, Wednesday, 5 February 2020 02:41 (three weeks ago) link

which good band / artist has the worst discography?

Black Flag

dad genes (morrisp), Wednesday, 5 February 2020 03:09 (three weeks ago) link

In a similar vein: Bad Brains

JRN, Wednesday, 5 February 2020 04:25 (three weeks ago) link

I'd go with The Kinks there, you remove a 5-year chunk of their 30-year career and pretty much all that's left is garbage with a handful of good singles

frogbs, Wednesday, 5 February 2020 04:30 (three weeks ago) link

Start a new thread!

The Mandymoorian (Whiney G. Weingarten), Wednesday, 5 February 2020 04:34 (three weeks ago) link

Joan Osborn- One Of Us.

Creames Fartpoop, Wednesday, 5 February 2020 04:43 (three weeks ago) link

I'm admittedly an album or two behind, but unless she's inexplicably gone into a qualitative freefall: Tara Jane O'Neill. And even if you feel like plugging all of her side work into the equation, it's still a pretty gahdamn unstoppable discography.

Sammo Hazuki's Tago Mago Cantina (Old Lunch), Thursday, 13 February 2020 18:09 (two weeks ago) link

Hmm, no mention of Rush or the Ramones in here ...

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 13 February 2020 18:41 (two weeks ago) link


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